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D-backs' Skaggs looks sharp in winning MLB debut

The SportsXchange

Left-hander Tyler Skaggs' first day in the major leagues indicated he was capable of many more.

Skaggs won his major league debut Wednesday with a 3-2 victory over Miami in the first game of a the Diamondbacks' doubleheader sweep, giving up a two-run home run to Justin Ruggiano and not much else. Skaggs gave up three hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out four and walking five. Baseball America's No. 13-ranked prospect entering the season, Skaggs is considered a top candidate for the 2013 starting rotation. If Wednesday was an audition, he passed.

"He has good stuff. He was very composed. I think we've always felt good about his future," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.

Skaggs uncharacteristic wildness -- he walked 37 in 122 1/3 minor league innings before being purchased Wednesday -- did not hurt him. After throwing eight consecutive balls to the first two batters in the sixth inning of a 3-2 game, Skaggs jammed Carlos Lee on a fastball to get an easy double play. He then got hot-hitting Giancarlo Stanton to pop out on another inside fastball.

Many in the crowd gave Skaggs, 21, a standing ovation as he left with two outs in the seventh inning, after reaching 99 pitches with his fifth walk. He tipped his cap as he walked off.

"Phenomenal. The greatest feeling I've had in my life so far," said Skaggs, a sandwich pick by the Los Angeles Angels in the 2010 draft who was obtained in the Dan Haren 2010 trade deadline deal that also brought Joe Saunders and Patrick Corbin. "I don't think it could have gone any better. A great day all around so far. It's a dream come true."

Skaggs was promoted for the doubleheader because D-backs manager Kirk Gibson does not believe in starting pitchers on short rest, but his short-term future is uncertain. The D-backs designated outfielder A. J. Pollock as their 26th player for the doubleheader, so Pollock must return to the minors Thursday. The D-backs, who have 13 pitches with Skaggs, will likely trim one when shortstop Willie Bloomquist is activated from the disabled list, possibly Friday.

Even if he stays for only one start, Skaggs learned a positive lesson. His takeaway?

"That I can pitch up here," he said. "But there are a lot of things to work on. It's a stepping stone."
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